A Chinese Experiment in Democracy Meets Fierce Resistance
The Christian Science Monitor reports on the fate of villagers who tried to recall their elected village council, according to a process outlines in the village democracy law, over suspected corruption in a land deal:
Huiguan, a nondescript cluster of brick houses outside the port of Tianjin, is like tens of thousands of other Chinese villages, on the verge of being swallowed up by a fast-expanding city. Its farmland has all but disappeared under new factories, and under circumstances that Fang, a 43-year-old widow, found suspicious.
“She never expected this,” says her sister, Fang Zhaohui, displaying photographs of Fang’s bruised and bloody body taken in the hospital six weeks ago, after thugs had broken into her home and beaten her. “She never expected it would be so difficult and that the government would be so black.”
“The township government is abusing its power,” complains Li Guangde, a village activist who has so far avoided jail. “They are putting difficulties in our way and a lot of pressure on us. Perhaps some township officials were involved in the land sale and maybe there was corruption. I don’t know.”